Archive for the ‘First Look’ Category

Euro Football Legend David Beckham Lends a Hand To Vietnam’s New VinFast Brand

Asian automaker set to launch production by mid-2019.

by on Oct.02, 2018

The VinFast Lux A 2.0 is based on the prior-generation BMW 5-Series platform.

There have been a few surprising moments at an otherwise lackluster 2018 Paris Motor Show, and several of them came from sources you wouldn’t expect, notably the debut of the first two new models from Vietnam’s first real carmaker, VinFast.

Of course, it didn’t hurt to have European football star David Beckham on the stand when the Lux A sedan and Lux SA sport-utility vehicle rolled out on Tuesday morning. The two will go into production by the third quarter of 2019 at an all-new factory build largely upon land reclaimed from Haiphong Harbor. Giving real meaning to the second part of its name, VinFast plans to add two more models, one all-electric, to its line-up by the end of next year.

Beyond the Headlines!

“Our ultimate goal is to become a world-class automobile manufacturer with a footprint in markets around the world,” said the start-up’s CEO Jim DeLuca, a former General Motors Asia hand who came out of retirement to help launch the company in 2017. (more…)

Ferrari’s New Monza Models Put a Modern Spin on Classic Designs

Two supercars will mark a limited run – and you’ll have to be invited to buy one.

by on Oct.02, 2018

Ferrari plans to sell just 499 of its first two "Icona Ferrari" models like the SP1. No prices were announced, but assume well into seven figures.

Ferrari has a long and glorious history, its many fans are quick to point out, and the carmaker now plans to mine that heritage for a new line of retro-futuristic models that will be sold through a new collection dubbed “Icona Ferrari.”

That will start off with the Monza SP1 and SP2 supercars making their formal debut at the Paris Motor Show today. Ferrari said at its news conference that it plans to build just 499 of them. It will offer them, it suggested, “to our best customers.” In fact, potential buyers will have to be invited just to stand in line.

Retro cars!

The forward-into-the-past design of the two Monza models is meant to harken back to one of the most glorious eras of racing, back in the 1950s and 1960s, when Ferrari dominated the European motor sports circuit. (more…)

First Look: BMW Rolls Out 7th-Generation 3-Series in Paris

This time they mean it when they it’s all-new from the ground up.

by on Oct.02, 2018

The 2019 BMW 3-Series sticks with a relatively familiar exterior design.

It may not be the most expensive model in the BMW line-up, and considering where the global luxury car market is going, SUVs and CUVs are coming to dominate the sales charts. But perhaps no model line better defines the DNA of the Bavarian automaker like the long-lived 3-Series.

So, expect to see and hear a lot about the all-new, seventh-generation compact, the 2019 BMW 3-Series to launch next spring in the U.S. market with the arrival of the 330i and 330i xDrive, as well as the M340i andM340i xDrive. And you also can expect to see a slew of additional versions, all the way up to the de rigueur M3, to follow in relatively short order.

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Automakers often overuse phrases like, “all-new,” or “ground-up redesign,” but they appear to fully apply here, the gen-7 3-Series pretty much revisiting everything, including its basic platform, suspension and powertrain line-up. It also introduces or updates a wide range of technologies. That includes the 330e plug-in hybrid coming in 2020, as well as the debut of the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant that uses plain-English commands to operate everything from navigation to audio and even lets you ask it what a warning light might be trying to tell you.

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First Drive: 2019 Nissan Altima

One very good reason why the sedan isn’t ready to die.

by on Sep.28, 2018

For 2019, the new Nissan Altima will be offered in a heavily equipped First Edition trim.

The sedan is dead. Long live the sedan. Or so goes what currently passes for conventional wisdom, backed by the decision to slash the number of four-door models, indeed, eliminate them entirely at Ford Motor Co.

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But I have seen the future and it is not an entirely SUV and CUV-driven world. If the complete makeover that is the 2019 Nissan Altima is any indication, there’s a clear place for sedans for the foreseeable future. And among the many new features that would seem to make the Altima a natural alternative for Snowbelt buyers who might really want a more conventional set of wheels: Altima marks the first time Nissan is offering all-wheel-drive in one of its sedans. That is, in fact, a relatively rare feature among mainstream four-doors, and not available on segment leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.

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Ford’s Rouge Complex Gets New Product Line to Celebrate Centennial

“What was once dismissed as a Rust Belt relic has become relevant all over again.”

by on Sep.27, 2018

The Rouge plant produces a new F-Series pickup, on average, every 53 seconds.

Ford Motor Co. will launch production of an all-new hybrid version of its F-150 pickup for the 2020 model-year at its sprawling River Rouge Complex near Detroit.

The announcement came at a day-long event called to celebrate the centennial of what was once hailed as the “American alter to the new god of mass production.” Commonly known as “The Rouge,” it was the brainchild of company founder Henry Ford and, for many years, the largest automotive manufacturing center in the world, renowned for its ability to take raw materials off ships and railroad cars at one end and spew out completed cars and trucks at the other.

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Product News!

Today, the Rouge has been somewhat downsized, some of its original operations closed, while others, such as its steel plant, have been sold off. But with 93 buildings covering a roughly 1.5 square-mile campus, its own docks and 100 miles of railroad track weaving through the complex, the Rouge remains one of the industry’s largest automotive manufacturing centers. And it is the primary production site for Ford’s various F-Series pickups which have, for decades, collectively been the country’s best-selling automotive product line.

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First Drive: 2019 BMW X5

A crossover by any other name: a worthy successor to mark the X5's 20th anniversary.

by on Sep.27, 2018

BMW will offer three versions of the 2019 X5, including a plug-in hybrid to come later in the year.

Few new models have done more to redefine a brand – indeed, to help transform the auto business overall – like the BMW X5. But there were plenty of doubters when the Bavarian automaker first announced plans to add a sport-utility vehicle to its line-up back in the late 1990s.

Even BMW seemed to have some doubts, deciding to call the new line a “Sport-Activity Vehicle,” rather than an SUV. But those concerns were quickly forgotten, demand for the midsize ute taking off from almost the moment the first X5 rolled out of BMW’s then-new assembly plant in Spartanburg South Carolina in 1999. The first generation alone generated more than 600,000 sales and, with production of the third-gen X5 now winding down, that’s jumped to more than 2.1 million.

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These days, BMW offers a full range of Sport-Activity Vehicles, from the little X1 all the way up to the new X7 set to launch next year as a crossover alternative to the brand’s traditional flagship, the 7-Series. But much like the 5-Series sedan, the X5 remains a lynchpin of that line-up, meant to combine both the utility of a crossover and the performance of a classic BMW sedan.

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Mercedes-AMG Project One Hypercar Caught Track Testing

Virtual testing can only take you so far.

by on Sep.25, 2018

Much of the initial development work for the Mercedes-AMG Project One was done digitally.

There’s a race underway to see who can do the better, faster job of putting Formula One technology on the road, and Daimler AG wants us to know it’s getting close, providing a handful of images showing off a prototype of the new Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar undergoing track testing.

Which track? Could it be the legendary Nurburgring? That’s a reasonable guess considering it isn’t all that far away from the company’s Stuttgart headquarters but, for now, the automaker is only hinting that prototypes are being driven on “closed-off test grounds. However, because of their characteristic F1 sound they are hard to keep from the public.”

Hypercars!

The Project One, which actually looks more like a Le Mans prototype than a Formula One racer, has been generating buzz for several years, though we only got a look at a complete mock-up at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year.

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Aston Martin Sketches Out its Future With Supercar Design Tease, IPO Plans

British marque hopes to repeat Ferrari’s success.

by on Sep.21, 2018

Aston has released a preliminary sketch of its third hypercar, the 003, which it hopes to have in production in 2021.

Aston Martin, the carmaker best known for its relationship with cinema spy 007, has laid out key details of its upcoming IPO while also releasing a preliminary sketch of the hypercar it’s calling 003 that it hopes will drive some of its future success.

Spun off by Ford Motor Co. in 2007, Aston struggled to avoid an eighth bankruptcy during the depths of the Great Recession, but its fortunes have skyrocketed over the last few years, a period coinciding with the arrival of CEO Andy Palmer and the subsequent commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars in new capital from its key investors.

The Last Word!

The IPO will go off next month on the London Stock Exchange, Palmer announced, declaring that it “will provide investors with a fitting opportunity to participate in our future success.”

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First Drive: 2019 Kia Forte

Ready to compete with small-car standbys: Civic, Corolla, Cruze

by on Sep.18, 2018

Despite the segment shrinking, Kia is plowing ahead with small cars with an all-new 2019 Forte sedan.

Given, the popularity of sport-utility vehicles, crossovers and pickup trucks, selling the traditional small car in the U.S. has become a very tough gig as evidenced by Ford giving up on cars and the Volkswagen Beetle is going away.

Meanwhile, cars such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Chevrolet Cruze have gotten better and offer an increasing number of features that shoppers in this segment could only dream about as recently as five years ago

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But that hasn’t discouraged Kia, which is launching an updated version of the compact third-generation Kia Forte this fall. Kia has built its reputation by building smart, stylish small vehicles and now has great ratings from J.D. Power’s critical initial quality survey to assure first-time buyers. (more…)

BMW’s iNext Offers a Glimpse at Automaker’s Autonomous, Electrified Future

Show car offers broad hints about BMW's next all-electric model.

by on Sep.15, 2018

BMW offered a handful of journalists a sneak peek at the iNext concept during an around-the-world tour.

BMW was one of the first of the traditional automakers to enter the plug-in vehicle market, well ahead of luxury rivals like Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lexus. But it has been slow to follow up on its original i3 and i8 models, especially when it comes to all-electric offerings, even as those competitors have laid out aggressive plans to launch literally dozens of their own new products in the coming years.

BMW has been dropping hints about where it might go next for several years. And the Bavarian automaker is looking to get back in the game with the appropriately named iNext, an all-electric and autonomous crossover set to make its debut in 2021.

Tech Talk!

A handful of select media outlets, including bingdb.info, got a chance to check out a prototype version of the iNext during an otherwise top-secret, around-the-world series that took the concept vehicles from Germany to New York, then Los Angeles and, finally, Beijing.

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